So my first step in the whole process of decluttering is to remove the obvious junk. That means dealing with the stuff that is causing my current state of overwhelm. One of the main reasons for being overwhelmed is the sheer number of things in my line of vision. Too much visual stimuli causes me to shut down and not know where to begin, so my first step in the process is to simply eliminate that problem by boxing up all the things on my desk, floor or where ever they happen to be. Although you often hear from organizing gurus the merits and disadvantages of this approach, when things get really bad I find that this is the simplest way for me to create momentum and also space to actually deal with the mess. Just like limiting your choices, when scrapbooking, helps you to be more creative; limiting while decluttering helps you to get more organized.
I approach boxing up in one of two ways – either a) just throw it all in a box and sort out of the box or b) the sort as I go method. I cover the same steps either way, but factors like the amount of time I have to spend, the amount of distractions I will have to deal with and how quickly I need to see results all come into play. In either scenario I begin by selecting a corner of the room to start in and then go from there. If I take the first approach I just throw it all in a box moving as quickly as possible around the room, from there I follow the same steps as method b). When sorting, items are separated into three categories 1. Rubbish which is pretty self-explanatory 2. Things that belong somewhere else and 3. Things that belong but need to be put away. I try to follow the ‘one touch’ rule when sorting, handling each item only once and making a quick decision about which category it belongs in.On this occasion I needed to see results quickly so I went with method a). I will caution that the box and sort method comes with varying degrees of success for me, the two smallest of the above four boxes were from previous box and sort sessions when I had family come to stay and needed the room “looking” clean in a hurry. Since I didn’t necessarily follow through on the sorting, I still had them to tackle this time around. Most of what they contained were decorative/gift wrap supplies that belong in another room and paper items such as scrapbooking class notes & memorabilia which needed to be purged or find homes.
By far the easiest thing to sort is the rubbish – bag it up and be gone with it. I ended up with two bags of rubbish and a third of paper waste, which may not come as a surprise for we paper hoarding types. Most of it was those bits of memorabilia that I wasn’t quite ready to let go of the last time and some remnants of kids crafting/my own scrapping that were ready to go too. The things that didn’t belong in the room were again another easy fix – mostly a lot of the kids things left lying around but I definitely added to the gift wrapping supplies and the second box below had quite a number of things that didn’t belong to any of us or were gifts that needed to be forwarded to their owners.
Now that I can finally get some breathing room in here I’m ready to proceed with the next step in my decluttering mission for this month – the dump and purge phase. A bit like boxing and sorting works to get rid of the obvious surface clutter, dumping and purging works in a similar fashion with the stuff that’s stored away in draws and bins and such. I’ll share my progress on that phase next week.